Career Advancement Meets Dream Pursuits: A Journey Through Dental Education and Clinical Experience

Career Advancement Meets Dream Pursuits: A Journey Through Dental Education and Clinical Experience

The pursuit of excellence in dental careers is a fundamental aspect of preparing aspiring dental professionals for the challenges of the ever-evolving field of dentistry. Being an endodontist with five years of experience, this trip has significantly broadened my perspective on the field and rejuvenated my passion for endodontics. My recent attachment to the Endodontic Department at both King's College London and the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) provided a unique and enriching opportunity to delve into the world of endodontics, combining theoretical knowledge with case-sharing experiences.

The first week of the clinical attachment was at Guy’s Hospital, King's College London (KCL), renowned for its commitment to excellence in dental education. The curriculum is designed to provide a comprehensive understanding of various dental specialties, with a strong emphasis on evidence-based practice. The Endodontic Department at King's College stands out for its faculty's expertise and its state-of-the-art facilities, where its dental chair is fully equipped with ten dental operating microscopes and an intraoral radiograph. The highlight of my visit was the esteemed opportunity to meet Professor Francesco Mannocci, the Endodontic Postgraduate Course Lead, whose reputation as a leading figure in endodontics precedes him. During the department tour, Professor Mannocci explained the intricacies of the endodontic postgraduate programme, highlighting its comprehensive curriculum that combines theoretical knowledge and practical skills. He emphasised the programme's focus on evidence-based practices and its commitment to preparing students for the challenges of modern dentistry.

Professor Francesco Mannocci and Nurul Ain binti Ramlan at the Endodontic Clinic

Meeting Professor Mark Ide, the Joint Associate Dean for Postgraduate Taught Education and a Professor in Periodontology at King's College, added another layer of depth to my already memorable visit. Professor Ide also shared insights into some of the ground-breaking research projects currently underway at King's College. One of them was through the provision of high-fidelity virtual haptic machines and low-fidelity phantom-head simulators, at the Faculty of Dentistry, Oral & Craniofacial Sciences. The Faculty is now the first dental school in the world to have successfully integrated a seamless clinical digital learning environment (including virtual reality) across all facilities. These projects set new standards for dental care worldwide.


Experiencing the high-fidelity virtual haptic machines simulators on floor 18 of Guy's Hospital Tower Wing

The second week I managed to visit the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), Preston where it is recognised for its students being friendly and up-to-date with the latest advancements in dental education and clinical programs. UCLan's curriculum integrates theoretical learning with practical experiences, preparing students for the dynamic nature of dental practice. The dental school's commitment to research and community engagement adds a holistic dimension to the educational experience.


At the School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Central Lancashire, Preston with Dr Shalini Kanagasingam

This arrangement was made possible because of  Dr. Shalini Kanagasingam, Course Lead MSc and MClinDent Endodontology, then my supervisor during my postgraduate training at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM). Dr. Shalini's support in facilitating this arrangement showed her commitment for professional development and collaborative spirit. The clinical attachment at UCLan provided a well-rounded exposure to various aspects of endodontic practice. Collaborating with experienced faculty and fellow students, I engaged in case discussions and treatment planning sessions, and observed various endodontic procedures. The emphasis on ethical practice and evidence-based decision-making was a consistent theme throughout the clinical experience.

Observing the Endodontic Post Graduate residents treating patient in the clinic

My visit to UCLan seemed to have been meticulously planned to provide a comprehensive overview of both the academic and practical aspects of dental education at the institution. Engaging with the friendly faculty members likely offered insights into the supportive culture that underpins the learning environment at UCLan. The lunch meetings provided an informal setting to discuss various topics, from advances in dental research to the nuances of dental education and practice in different parts of the world. These discussions can spark new ideas, inspire collaborative projects, or even lead to mentorship opportunities, further enhancing professional and personal growth.

Lunch meeting with UCLan Dental Faculty members

The lecture series given by Dr. Flavio Pisani and Dr. Simon represents the cutting-edge academic offerings at UCLan, showcasing the depth of knowledge and expertise among the faculty. Visiting the research lab and simulation lab has been particularly enlightening. The operative simulation lab, on the other hand, represents the bridge between theoretical knowledge and practical application. It's a space where students and visiting professionals can observe and engage in hands-on practice under controlled conditions, refining their skills without the immediate pressures of real-life patient care.

Lecture by Dr Flavio Pisani, Course Lead MSc and MClinDent Periodontology

Both King's College and UCLan demonstrated a commitment to delivering a comprehensive dental curriculum and demonstrated a commitment to incorporating technology into dental education. Digital radiography, intraoral scanners, and computer-aided design and manufacturing (CAD/CAM) technologies were seamlessly integrated into clinical practice at both institutions. Despite the enriching experiences, the attachments presented certain challenges. Adapting to different institutional cultures and clinical workflows required flexibility. Time management was crucial to make sure all aspects of the visit were covered effectively, maximising the opportunity for learning and professional development.

The dental education and clinical experience attachment in the Endodontic departments at King's College and the University of Central Lancashire have been instrumental in shaping my understanding of endodontics and preparing me for the complexities of dental practice. I am grateful for the opportunity to immerse myself in the dynamic world of endodontics at two distinguished institutions by securing this travelling grant, namely the Dental Education and Clinical Experience Fellowship, 2023 by the Dental Faculty of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.

Nurul Ain Ramlan - Centre of Study Comprehensive Care, Faculty of Dentistry, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Malaysia and RCSEd Dental Education Fellowship Awardee

back to top of page